Since coming to live in Germany, I have often seen TV reports on family-friendly hostels in stunning-looking locations around Germany and Austria. Last Autumn, while considering a holdiday for the mid-term break, we decided we would try one out.
Scenery wise Berchtesgaden, in a corner of Bavaria wich juts out into Austria, is supposed to be absolutely stunning, so we looked it up, booked a family room in a hostel and hoped for the best.
When the mid-term break began in later October we set off from home and broke the journey by staying a night near Regensburg, a beautiful old town on the banks of the Danube. The following day around lunchtime we arrived at the hostel and were immediately enthralled by the view of the mountains.
The hostel consists of two buildings, the actual youth hostel and the family hostel. The family hostel is a renovated Bavarian house, completely modernised and kitted out perfectly for families.
Our room was on the ground floor and slept up to seven people. The spacious room contained a double bed, two sets of very safe wooden bunk beds and a travel cot. Four doors led off the room, one to the corridor, one to our toilet, another to our shower wet room and the fourth, a glass door, led outside to a patio. There was a wash hand basin and mirror in the room itself as well as plenty of lockable wardrobes. Next to the double bed was a massive window with a deep window seat complete with fleece blankets and cushions, perfect for snuggling into with a book or simply to enjoy the view.
The building also houses a kitchen with play area and a separate TV room. The kitchen is not equipped with cooking facilities but does have a microwave, fridge, kettle and coffee maker, sink, cutlery, glasses and crockery. We ate our tea there one or two evenings, having bought bread and some local cheese a s salami to try out.
The main hostel house has a canteen serving breakfast and dinner at set times. The food is basic, but there is plenty of it and it is cheap. We booked our stay to include breakfast but paid for dinner separately on the days we ate there.
Breakfast was juice, coffee, cereal, yogurt, white bread rolls, jam, honey, Nutella, cheese slices and cold meats from a self service buffet. Dinner was self service too and included soup, salad and dessert. The soups we tasty and the salads fresh. The main meal was fine but very much canteen food – chips, sausages, schnitzel, spaghetti bolognese, etc.
As well as the typical youth hostel set up with books and board games available to all guests, the Berchtestgarden hostel hosts special evenings for children. During our stay there was a film night for the children as well as a campfire night where the children could bake their own bread by wrapping bread dough around foil-covered sticks and baking it over the open fire. That was one of the highlights for our boys.
So, what did we get up to outside of the hostel? Before writing this post I asked the children what their favourite part of the holiday was. Their answer was “the mountains”. There is tons to do in the area, as long as you are happy to be outdoors. The scenery is simply stunning and there are hiking paths everywhere, catering to all levels.
With The Bavarian being a fly fisherman, we chose a lot of hiking routes along rivers. There were always plenty of shallow spots to paddle in, observe the fish or stop for a picnic.
We made sure to bring a small rucksack each so that we could have plenty of drinks and snacks with us as well as spare socks and trousers for the boys in case anyone got wet. The paths we took were all suitable for the buggy.
One of the absolute highlights for all of us was our boat trip on the Koenigssee lake and the visit to St. Bartholomä , the church and castle at the end of the lake. There are beautiful walking paths along the lake and through the forest, again all easily accessible to families with small children and buggies.
The boats run vdery frequently and the guide explains the history nad geography of the area in various languages. It is a fascinating tour and the views from the boat are mind-blowing.
Towards the end of our stay in the alps we visited the Salt mine in Berchtesgaden. Although quite pricey, the tour was facinating. We were taken deep underground into the salt mines and given the full history of the mines and details of the lives of the workers there. Even down there there was a boat trip across a saline lake. Not for the claustrophobic, but well worth a visit if you are in the area. Save it for a rainy day though as there is so much to do and see outdoors.
[Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. We paid for our entire trip, accommodation and entertainment ourselves. We had a fantastic holiday and want to share our experience with you. All words, opinions and pictures here are our own.]